Weehawken High School unveils cutting-edge new STEAM studio

“I think it’s a really cool idea, especially now that we’re kind of mixing technology with art,” says junior Grace Denfeld.


This is the new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) studio at Weehawken High School; it was previously a woodshop.

“Everything was cleaned and painted and everybody worked really hard to kind of make it all happen,” says art teacher Elizabeth McParland. “And now it’s going to be just a creative space.”

The lab will allow students to solve problems and create solutions with the help of new technology.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time to get the high school on the cutting-edge of technology and we have a tremendous arts community and people are involved in the arts community,” says Mayor Richard Turner.  He added that the Weehawken School District Educational Foundation raised $80,000 to make it all possible.

Abigail Hosford, a freshman, is still exploring her medium.

“I think it’s a great idea what they did here,” Hosford says. “I’m really enjoying the space and I love art.”

The inspiration behind this started because the industrial arts woods program at the time was shrinking.

“We just thought this would be a great opportunity to integrate the two and really be on top of our game,” says Superintendent of Schools, Dr. John Fitzsimons.

Elizabeth is a big recycler.

“So I got stools, a smart board and shades,” McParland says. “Everything else I repurposed.”

They hope the students get STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and STEAM out of the new lab.

“Learning the science, the math and how everything works together with the engineering,” says Board of Education President Richard Barsa.

Buzz continues to build about the steam education, for students in grades 9-12 and an intro course for eighth graders.

“As far as what this program means to the future of the students of Weehawken is just amazing,” says Principal Steven Spinosa.

According to Abigail, the room feels more open — and that’s a good thing.

“So it could definitely bring more ideas,” Hosford says.

McParland says the space is for everyone.

“Theater design, anything – acting, yoga, meditation, whatever; whatever anybody wants to do in here, I want them to feel comfortable.”

About The Author

Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time... Jillian enjoys yoga, working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. She also loves to connect with the community, so feel free to say hi if you see her around, shoot her an e-mail... jrisberg@hctvnj.com or follow her @JillianRis .

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